Dec. 6, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame track and field freshmen Chris Giesting and Kaila Barber started off their careers with a bang on Tuesday, earning the inaugural BIG EAST Track and Field weekly awards for the 2011-12 season after impressive showings at the season-opening Blue & Gold Invitational last Friday.

Giesting, who earned BIG EAST Male Track Athlete of the Week honors, won the 400m dash in a BIG EAST qualifying time of 47.40. The time is the fastest in the country so far this season.

The Batesville, Ind., product also ran the final leg on the winning 4×400 meter relay team. The team’s time of 3:18.36 was four seconds faster than its nearest competitor.

Barber, who was named BIG EAST Female Track Athlete of the Week, showcased her ability to do a little bit of everything, as she won the 60m hurdles, the 400m dash and the long jump, before running the final leg on the winning 4x400m relay team.

The Middleburg Heights, Ohio, native opened her night with a first place finish in the 60m hurdles. Her time of 8.51 earned her a spot at the BIG EAST Championships in the event.

She next won the long jump with a BIG EAST qualifying leap of 5.65m, before turning around and taking the 400m dash with another BIG EAST qualifying time of 56.83. Barber closed out her night helping the team win the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:51.49.

“It is impressive that two freshmen can come right in and contribute at such a high level,” said head coach Joe Piane. “They performed exceptionally well on Friday. We are so excited to see what else they can do the rest of the year. The sky is the limit for both.”

The Irish return to the track next weekend when they compete in the Grand Valley Holiday Invitational in Allendale, Mich.